How to cool a cheesecake properly after baking, cool a cheesecake in the oven with the door slightly ajar for an hour to avoid temperature shock. Then move it to a wire rack until it reaches room temperature. Lastly, refrigerate it for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight.
As a pastry chef with 15+ years of experience, I have baked countless cheesecakes and cooling a cheesecake is just as important as baking one.
But cooling a cheesecake can be a tricky process, so here is my ultimate step-by-step guide on how to cool a cheesecake.
Why Cooling A Cheesecake Is Essential
I once made a cheesecake for a dinner party and decided to skip the wire rack and put it in the fridge immediately after taking it out of the oven.
The result was a cracked and dense cheesecake that lacked the creamy texture that makes a cheesecake so delicious.
Since then, I always make sure to follow the pastry chef’s perfect way to cool a cheesecake, and my cheesecakes have been consistently creamy and delicious ever since.
So, take your time, follow these steps, and you’ll be rewarded with the perfect cheesecake every time.
Master The Cheesecake Baking Process First
Getting the baking process right is crucial to ending up with a cheesecake that is both creamy and delicious.
First, make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature before starting to mix them. This will ensure the batter is smooth and uniform.
Next, always pre-bake the crust.
A pre-baked crust will help prevent as Mary Berry says, “a soggy bottom”. Once your cheesecake is in the oven, avoid opening the oven door until the cheesecake is almost done.
The best way to tell if your cheesecake is done is to gently jiggle the cheesecake.
If it jiggles slightly and has a set appearance around the edges, it’s done.
How To Cool A Cheesecake Correctly
Now that your cheesecake is baked to perfection, it’s time to cool it down. Cooling a cheesecake slowly and gently is key to preventing cracking and ensuring a smooth, creamy texture. Here are the steps to cool your cheesecake:
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven and run a thin knife around the edge to loosen it from the pan. This will help prevent it from sticking to the sides while cooling.
- Let your cheesecake cool in the springform pan for about 5 minutes. This will allow the edges to slightly pull away from the pan, making it easier to remove later.
- Gently lift the cheesecake out of the pan and onto a wire rack. If using a water bath, keep the cheesecake in the water bath until the water has cooled down before lifting it out.
- Let the cheesecake cool on the wire rack until it reaches room temperature. This can take between 1-2 hours depending on the size of the cheesecake.
- Once the cheesecake has cooled to room temperature, place it in the refrigerator and let it cool for at least 4 hours before serving. This will help it set and become even creamier.
Other Cooling Methods
While the above method is the pastry chef’s perfect way to cool a cheesecake, there are other ways to cool a cheesecake if you’re short on time.
Here are a few alternatives:
- Cool the cheesecake in the fridge for 30 minutes, then place it in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Put the cheesecake in the fridge for an hour, then transfer it to the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Place the cheesecake in the fridge for an hour, then remove it and leave it on the counter for 10 minutes for a faster cool-down.
However, keep in mind that these alternatives may not result in a perfectly smooth and creamy cheesecake.
How Long Should Cheesecake Cool Before Going in the Fridge?
You should let your cheesecake cool before going in the fridge on the counter for at least 30 minutes before placing it in the refrigerator. This gives the cheesecake ample time to set and reach a temperature that will not cause condensation to form.
For thicker cheesecakes or those made with additional ingredients such as fruit, it may be necessary to let the cheesecake cool for up to an hour.
This will ensure that the filling is fully set and will prevent cracking or other issues.
Why It’s So Important To Cool Cheesecake Before Refrigerating
When a cheesecake is removed from the oven, the filling is still quite hot and will continue to cook and set as it cools.
Here’s why you should avoid doing this:
- Condensation Build-Up: If you place a hot cheesecake straight into the fridge, it will cause condensation to form inside the cake, resulting in a soggy and unappetizing texture.
- Damaging Your Fridge: Putting anything hot into the refrigerator will increase the temperature inside the appliance, making it work harder to cool back down. This can lead to a shorter lifespan for your fridge and also negatively impact any perishable items you may have stored inside.
Therefore, it’s best to allow your cheesecake to cool to room temperature before transferring it to the fridge for safe storage and optimal enjoyment.
If you were to immediately place the cheesecake in the fridge, the sudden change in temperature could cause the filling to crack and affect the texture of the final product.
Cheesecake needs time to cool down to prevent condensation from forming on the surface of the filling. If condensation forms, it can cause the filling to become watery and compromise the flavor and texture of the cheesecake.
How To Cool A Cheesecake Faster
If you’re in a hurry to enjoy your freshly baked cheesecake, don’t worry. You don’t have to wait hours for it to cool down.
Here are 5 tips on how to quickly chill your cheesecake:
- Use a Wire Rack: Placing your cheesecake on a wire rack will allow 360-degree air circulation, which will speed up the cooling process.
- Use a Small Fan: Turn on a small fan and direct it towards your cheesecake placed on a wire rack (if possible) to speed up the cooling process.
- Make a No-Bake Cheesecake: Skip the cooling time altogether by making a no-bake cheesecake. Although it won’t require baking, it will still need to chill for 6-12 hours before serving.
- Use the Freezer: After bringing the cheesecake to room temperature, you can place it in the freezer to set and chill faster. However, be sure not to leave it in the freezer for more than two hours to avoid freezer burn.
- Place a Wet Rag Around the Pan: Wetting a rag with ice-cold water and placing it around the springform pan will bring the temperature down and help the cheesecake to cool quickly.
Can I cool the cheesecake in the fridge immediately after taking it out of the oven?
No, it’s important to let the cheesecake cool to room temperature on a wire rack before placing it in the fridge. This will prevent condensation from forming on top of your cheesecake.
How long should I let my cheesecake cool on the wire rack before placing it in the fridge?
It’s best to let your cheesecake cool to room temperature on the wire rack before placing it in the fridge. This can take between 1-2 hours, depending on the size of your cheesecake.
Can I speed up the cooling process by using a fan or putting my cheesecake in the freezer?
It’s best to use the pastry chef’s perfect way to cool a cheesecake to ensure it has a smooth and creamy texture. However, if you are short on time, you can use some of the alternative cooling methods mentioned above.